JP nadda rotavirus
JP nadda rotavirusUnion health ministry,India

India launched the free indigenous rotavirus vaccine Saturday. The move is aimed at preventing about 1 lakh annual deaths (of children) in the country due to the rotavirus-induced diarrhoea.

The rotavirus vaccine has been manufactured by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech company.

Union Health Minister JP Nadda launched the rotavirus vaccine in Bhubhaneswar, Odisha, as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). Nadda administered the drops of the first rotavirus vaccine to a six-week-old baby in Bhubaneswar. The vaccine will be rolled out in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in the first phase, India's health ministry said in a tweet.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe vomiting and diarrhoea among infants and young children, claiming 4,53,000 lives globally each year, according to the World Health Organisation. The children under one years of age are at the maximum risk of suffering from the rotavirus induced diarrhoea.

In India, the rotavirus is responsible for 40 percent of the severe diarrhoea cases. According to the union health ministry, rotavirus-induced diarrhoea kills one child every four minutes in India.

"The launch of the rotavirus vaccine is a step in the right direction as we embark towards realising the targets of the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as it will greatly help in reducing child mortality and ensure healthy lives," Nadda said, according to the Hindustan Times.

The government launched Mission Indhradhanush last year to cover unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated children against seven preventable diseases like Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B. The programme envisages to provide immunisation cover to 90 percent children of the country compared to the current 60 percent.

A Hyderabad-based biopharmaceutical company, Biological E. (BE) Limited, has received Rs 895 crore order from the union health ministry for a liquid pentavalent vaccine(LPV), ComBE Five, which would be inducted in the universal immunisation programme — Mission Indradhanush.